If you have been told by your physician that you need to start a gluten free diet, or if you want to try one for your health, then making the transition can seem very daunting. But rest assured, you can make this transition smoothly and improve your health at the same time. By following these 3 steps, you can ease effortlessly into your new lifestyle:
Step 1: Education
Step 1 involves education. During this phase, you will need to educate yourself about gluten and what it does to your body. You will need to read up on what foods you need to avoid. Gluten can show up in even the most innocent-seeming ingredients, as it is a staple in fillers, seasonings, starches and the like. You will need to find out if the fast food restaurants you frequent use wheat products (hence, gluten) as fillers. You will need to know that barley and rye also contain gluten and should be avoided along with wheat products.
There are a lot of resources out there to help you learn more about gluten. There are countless websites devoted to the gluten-free lifestyle. There are entire books on the subject at your local library. If you get stuck, you can ask your physician for guidance. The most important thing is to start educating yourself right away.
Step 2: Implementation
Now that you are educated about the gluten-free lifestyle, it’s time to start implementing what you’ve learned. Begin by purging your kitchen of every product that contains gluten. If you can, donate these products to a food pantry, or give them away to family and friends who can use them. Next, give your kitchen a thorough scrubbing, particularly items like the toaster, which is a gluten crumb magnet. Some people even go so far as to buy new appliances so there is no danger of cross-contamination.
Now you can go shopping, armed with your list of gluten-free alternatives. Buy small amounts of each new product at first, trying a little bit as you go along. Some gluten-free alternatives are amazing and you can’t even detect a difference. Others take some getting used to. See what products work for you and then later you can come back and buy in bulk.
Step 3: Stay on Track
As you get used to your new gluten-free lifestyle, you should notice a marked improvement in your health. You should have many favorite gluten-free meals that have replaced your old standbys. You are comfortable with gluten-free baking and probably don’t even miss wheat products.
This is when it’s really easy to slack off and get complacent. It’s really easy to stop being careful. You may give up reading the ingredients labels on your favorite foods. Or you may think “Just one won’t hurt me,” as you indulge in a food that’s full of gluten.
But, if you have health problems that dictate a gluten-free lifestyle, even a crumb of gluten can start a chain reaction of negative processes in your body. You will have to remain vigilant throughout your life, as even the ingredients in your go-to products can change without warning.
Fortunately, you have a health issue that can be easily managed simply by changing your diet. So, if you stick to your new gluten-free eating plan and remain wary of processed foods, you should enjoy a marked improvement in your health and lifestyle–for the rest of your life!